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April 4, 2021
3 min to read

New Mexico Governor Signs Legal Weed Bill

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Jim McDonald


Update April 12

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the cannabis legalization bill into law today. While the legal market will not be in place for a year, personal possession of up to two ounces of cannabis flower (and concentrates and edibles as described below) will become legal on June 29 of this year.

April 4, 2021

New Mexico will become the 18th state to approve legal recreational cannabis when Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signs a bill just passed by the legislature. The vote came on the same day that New York’s governor signed a cannabis legalization bill into law.

Lujan Grisham has indicated that she will sign the bill that passed on March 31 in a special legislative session. The legislature also passed a separate bill that will expunge some previous cannabis convictions.

“This is a significant victory for New Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “Workers will benefit from the opportunity to build careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises. The state and local governments will benefit from the additional revenue. Consumers will benefit from the standardization and regulation that comes with a bona fide industry. And those who have been harmed by this country’s failed war on drugs, disproportionately communities of color, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to past low-level convictions.”


Legal sales are expected to launch by April 1, 2022. There will be no limit to the number of licenses the state can issue, although the number of producers and dispensaries may be limited later. Microbusinesses with 200 or fewer plants will be allowed to grow, process and sell cannabis with a single license (sometimes called vertical integration).

Additional elements of the new law, according to Marijuana Moment, include:

  • Adults can possess up to two ounces of flower, 16 grams of concentrates, and edibles containing up to 800 milligrams of THC
  • Individual home cultivators can grow up to six mature plants, with a household total of 12
  • Recreational cannabis will have a 12 percent retail sales tax (in addition to New Mexico’s existing 8 percent sales tax). Between 2025 and 2030, the tax will increase 1 percent each year. Medical cannabis will not have an excise tax
  • Municipalities can use their zoning authority to limit the number and location of cannabis businesses, but will not be able to ban them altogether
  • If there is a statewide cannabis shortage after the recreational market opens, the state can force licensed producers to reserve up to 10 percent of their products for medical patients
  • A new agency within the Regulation and Licensing Department, called the Cannabis Control Division, will regulate both the recreational and medical programs
  • The cannabis industry is expected to bring in $20 million in revenue for the state in 2023, as well as $10 million for local governments, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

    Cannabis containing more than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC remains federally illegal, although congressional Democrats hope to pass a bill this year that would legalize marijuana. Legalization in New Mexico means more than one-third of U.S. states have passed bills or voter referendums to approve recreational cannabis. Thirty-eight states have some form of medical cannabis program.

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    Jim McDonald

    Vaping since: 13 years

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    Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

    Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

    Jim McDonald

    Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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